The state government believe expanding Broadmeadow’s McDonald Jones Stadium is something to be considered in the future.

Some community members are calling for grandstands to be built on the northern and southern ends of the stadium to increase its total capacity from 20,000 to 30,000, following the immediate sell-out of Saturday’s A-League grand final.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald said international events like the Matildas versus Brazil have proved the Hunter can host big games, but we must carefully consider whether tax-payer money is best spent on a stadium expansion.

“There’s no doubt the major national and international codes are acquiring better and better facilities…

“Obviously this is part of the debate with Sydney, you’ve got a number of stadiums that don’t appear all that old but are starting to fall behind,” Mr MacDonald said.

In March 2018, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a backflip on her $2-billion-dollar plans to knock down and rebuild ANZ Stadium at Homebush, choosing instead to refurbish the venue to make it rectangular.

The decision followed opinion polls showing over half of NSW voters in opposition to the move, and campaigning by NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley involving the slogan, “schools and hospitals before stadiums.”

With Sydney stadium spends proving unpopular, the question remains whether Newcastle needs a larger sporting facility.

Scot MacDonald believes we shouldn’t get swept up in Jets fever for the rare and exciting Grand Final without carefully considering normal crowd numbers.

“I’ve been to a number of games there…generally they tend to sit around the 14,000 to 16,000 mark and it seems quite comfortable,” he said.

“There’s no doubt there are events that call for bigger numbers [such as the Asian Cup, or the popular Matildas vs Brazil match in September last year] …”

“So do you have a stadium there where the capacity is quite adequate for 95% of its activities,” he questioned, “or do you invest in something that may be only needing 40,000 a couple of times a year at best?”

Mr MacDonald said there will be an opportunity for Venues NSW to look at the possibility of expansion, as part of their future vision of the Broadmeadow Precinct.

In July 2017, the Berejiklian government announced plans to open up the Broadmeadow sport and entertainment precinct for private development and redevelop the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, however no firm funding commitments have yet been made for the 63-hectare site.

A rugby league centre, new hotel, multi-level car park and aquatic centre were all touted as possibilities for Broadmeadow.

Scot MacDonald said he expects the state government to announce further details by the end of this year.

He thanked the government, event organisers, Jets management and Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Councils for promptly stringing everything together to make the grand final a success.

For those fans who’ve missed out on tickets, Lake Macquarie Council have announced a live screening of the game at Speers Point Park, with entertainment and food stalls available from 5pm.

Newcastle’s King Edward Park will also be holding a live screening from 7pm.